THE X-MEN PROJECT: CHAPTER 22 – THE FOUR FINGERED HAND OF LONGSHOT

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Chapter 22

Longshot began life as a genetically modified slave under the rule of Mojo. He was bred in a cloning tank to become cannon fodder for a gladiatorial program that Mojo was broadcasting to the galaxy from the Mojoverse. Due to an error in the birthing process, Longshot mutated into having the power to alter probability. Originally displayed as the ability to alter one’s luck, Longshot can only access his mutant power when his intentions are pure. Longshot has leathery skin, two hearts, hollow bones and is virtually a blank slate discovering that one can have their own identity. Most of this was lost on me as a kid until I re-read the original mini-series.

LONGSHOTSPIRAL

Ricochet Rita was a human stuntwoman that would later be modified into the creature known as Spiral. She was the first person to find Longshot when he arrived on Earth and she was so taken by him, that she agreed to venture back to the Mojoverse in order to help overthrow Mojo. Unfortunately, that didn’t end so hot and Ricochet Rita was captured. She was made to take care of the X-Babies (minature X-Men kid clones) and begin body modification under Mojo’s genetic engineers. I would bad mouth the X-Babies, but their appearance in Annual 12 is one of my earliest X-Men memories. It was the 1980s and kid versions of properties were huge everywhere. Think about every other cartoon being aired at the time.

When Rita finally became Spiral, she was sent back in time to Earth by Mojo. While there, Spiral was given alien technology and the imperative to create The Body Shoppe. The Body Shoppe would be a genetic modification lab that would go on to be the birthplace of Lady Deathstrike and most of the Reavers’ cyborg forms. Mojo wanted Spiral to mutilate the human world into her image and Spiral was willing to do just that. Spiral also played a hand in turning Psylocke from a British woman into an Asian one. But, that’s coming up in the next chapter.

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What’s weird is that during the Outback era of the X-Men, Longshot had a chance to get away from the big upheaval before it happened. The clone gladiator had an identity crisis and skipped town before being sucked through. Dazzler went through, got stalked and had all sorts of weird stuff happen before she decided to join up with Longshot to overthrow Mojo. While there, she discovered that she was pregnant in one of the issues following Claremont’s departure from the X Books. Then, came the dark times. The era where readers didn’t care for Longshot anymore. I guess that’s what happens when Art Adams stops drawing you.

Longshot would spend most of the 90s and 00s bouncing around in random issues without every landing a home back in the X-books. We’ll skim over the one-shot with the Thingy and the efforts to explain away what happened between Dazzler and him. So, that catches us up to the Exiles period. Due to being bounced around between realities and dimension, plus the whole death thing with the Thing; Longshot has no memories. When he joins the Exiles, he’s used as an unknown factor to keep Proteus from destroying different realities. The Mojoverse is a rare realm where all of its inhabitants are the sole copies throughout reality. I don’t know how that works, but it’s canon.

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Longshot eventually finds his way into the custody of X-Factor Investigations. Dazzler has abandoned him, as he has no memories of the life they spent together. While working with X-Factor, Longshot figures out his true origins. His father/son is the X-Force member known as Shatterstar. Shatterstar will one day be teleported to the Mojoverse where Mojo’s genetic engineers will use his genetic template to make Gladiators. Unfortunately, Shatterstar’s mutant gene will cause the initial batch to mutate and Longshot will be the lone powerful mutant of the bunch. Cut to years later when Longshot leads an uprising on Mojoworld and knocks up Dazzler. Dazzler will ultimately have her baby and that kid will be Shatterstar. Shatterstar overthrows Mojo and is then flung back in time to fulfill his destiny. Comics!

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But, how can you talk about Longshot without covering Mojo? Mojo is the ruler of the Mojoverse, but how did that fat slob take over the place? Well, the Mojoverse is a very peculiar place where its inhabitants have been driven insane by cosmic radiation poisoning for years. Arize appeared and he would go on to become Mojo’s chief scientist/genetic engineer. He created the exoskeleton devices that took the sickly inhabitants and gave them the ability to get out of the radiation blasts and begin forming a society. In time, the Spineless Ones would declare that they needed a slave class to do the work that their sickly bodies wouldn’t allow. So, Arize created a series of clones to do manual labor, build infrastructure and provide entertainment for the new society.

This would lead to the creation of Longshot and his related adventures. Over time, Mojo would create a clone dubbed Mojo II: The Sequel. Mojo II quickly faded away, as Mojo created another mini-Marvel team dubbed The Mitey ‘Vengers. Then, he created toddler versions of some villains from the Age of Apocalypse. Naturally, due to the modern era being so media savvy and saturated, Mojo fell out of favor with Marvel. Trips to the Mojoverse became slimmer and slimmer, as Marvel decided to get stay more on Earth and less from media studies of 80s decadence.

Coming up over the next month, we’re going to blast through the next chapters rather fast. A rough sketch of the remaining chapters has been completed, but I’m going to double up chapters and even create team entries to spotlight individuals that might not have enough material about them to warrant a solo entry. While everybody is somebody’s favorite, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to spend forever writing about them. Otherwise, you spend the last paragraph sharing your notes with the readers. It’s funny how that works.

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